The day ahead: Thursday

September 2, 2009

Back-to-school sales, weekly jobless data, and an ECB interest rate decision are among the highlights expected on Thursday.

*  The key back-to-school selling season comes into focus as many U.S. retailers, including Target, Gap and Macys, report monthly sales.

*  The Labor Department’s weekly jobless claims data are due at 8:30 a.m. EDT and should show a slight moderation to 560,000 from the previous week’s 570,000.

*  The European Central Bank is expected to keep interest rates at 1.0 percent.

*  Del Monte is expected to swing to a profit from a year-earlier loss when it reports first-quarter earnings.

*  A deadline looms for the European Commission’s antitrust authority to approve Oracle’s $7.4 billion acquisition of Sun. Sources say there is rising concern at the commission about Oracle getting its hands on Sun’s MySQL database.

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